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United Academics Magazine publishes popular science news on a daily basis.
Don't trust your weighing scale too much, it might nog be that accurate anymore.... Read more »
Cumpson, P., & Sano, N. (2013) Stability of reference masses V: UV/ozone treatment of gold and platinum surfaces. Metrologia, 50(1), 27-36. DOI: 10.1088/0026-1394/50/1/27
Are you a macho man? Or a girly girl? Well, this may be a good thing if you want to have a long and exciting relationship with your partner. Researchers from the University of North Carolina have shown that coupling and sexual behavior are related to our gendered behavior.... Read more »
Udry, J., & Chantala, K. (2004) Masculinity-Femininity Guides Sexual Union Formation in Adolescents. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30(1), 44-55. DOI: 10.1177/0146167203258840
Police and prisons aren’t the only way to fight crime; economist Rick Nevins found a direct causality between atmospheric lead (created primarily by leaded gasoline emissions and lead paint) and criminality as well as other deleterious psychological, physical, and behavioral effects. The causality is so blatant that Tulane University researchers Howard Mielke and Sammy Zahran found that in New Orleans, when maps of lead contamination and crime statistics are overlapped, they are nearly identical.... Read more »
Nevin, R. (2000) How Lead Exposure Relates to Temporal Changes in IQ, Violent Crime, and Unwed Pregnancy. Environmental Research, 83(1), 1-22. DOI: 10.1006/enrs.1999.4045
Reyes, J. (2007) Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis , 7(1). DOI: 10.2202/1935-1682.1796
Certain regions of the brain pack a mighty punch, releasing a substance similar to pharmaceutical-grade opiates when provided with a tiny jolt of electricity. Researchers from the University of Michigan published findings that uncovered one of the human body’s most powerful painkillers, while treating the brain of a patient with severe, recurring facial pain.... Read more »
Dos Santos, M, Love, T, Martikainen, I, Nascimento, T, Fregni, F, Cummiford, C, Deboer, M, Zubieta, J, & DaSilva, A. (2012) Immediate Effects of tDCS on the μ-Opioid System of a Chronic Pain Patient. Frontiers in Psychiatry. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyt.2012.00093
Natural gas wells, seen as a “greener” alternative to coal and oil and more immediately accessible than solar or wind power, may actually be leaking more harmful gases than expected. The reports of this leakage are casting more doubts on the true effectiveness and environmental benefit of natural gas production.
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Pétron, G., Frost, G., Miller, B., Hirsch, A., Montzka, S., Karion, A., Trainer, M., Sweeney, C., Andrews, A., Miller, L.... (2012) Hydrocarbon emissions characterization in the Colorado Front Range: A pilot study. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117(D4). DOI: 10.1029/2011JD016360
If you’re fond of tree climbing, here’s some good news: if you stretch up your calf muscle, you can radically improve your skills. That’s how Ugandan Twa people learn to ascend trees almost as good as chimpanzees, researchers find out.... Read more »
The world is full of of embarrassing conditions you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Every week, Carian discusses one. This week: Urination during sex.... Read more »
HILTON, P. (1988) Urinary incontinence during sexual intercourse: a common, but rarely volunteered, symptom. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 95(4), 377-381. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.1988.tb06609.x
It's an old wisdom, but now there's scientific proof: helping someone does not only benefit the reciever. ... Read more »
Layous, K., Nelson, S., Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2012) Kindness Counts: Prompting Prosocial Behavior in Preadolescents Boosts Peer Acceptance and Well-Being. PLoS ONE, 7(12). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051380
It is impossible to address the ills of the human mind without also looking for what problems may exist in the body. A recently published study, which included 73,000 Danes, has shown that inflammation, whether the result of an illness or unhealthy lifestyle, can affect your mood, leading to depression. Scientists from Herlev Hospital and the University of Copenhagen isolated c-reactive protein (CRP) that, when inflamed, leads to a two to three times increased risk for depression.... Read more »
Wium-Andersen, M. (2012) Elevated C-Reactive Protein Levels, Psychological Distress, and Depression in 73 131 IndividualsElevated CRP Levels and Psychiatric Illness. Archives of General Psychiatry, 1. DOI: 10.1001/2013.jamapsychiatry.102
Oh, no, you’re thinking—another tedious, scolding holiday “science of overeating” story. Not so! You can eat what you want—even overindulge—as long as you don’t make a habit of it, and most important, don’t make that habit interfere with normal mealtimes.... Read more »
Zhang, L., Abraham, D., Lin, S., Oster, H., Eichele, G., Fu, Y., & Ptacek, L. (2012) PKC participates in food entrainment by regulating BMAL1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(50), 20679-20684. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1218699110
Rising temperatures in West Antarctica are far more threatening than expected, a new study shows.... Read more »
Bromwich, D., Nicolas, J., Monaghan, A., Lazzara, M., Keller, L., Weidner, G., & Wilson, A. (2012) Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1671
Humpback whales are known virtuosos. Their mating songs are characterized by an impressive duration and complexity. In recent years, however, more and more reports show that they’re not only singing when they find themselves at breeding grounds.
A new study, published at the online journal PLOS ONE, followed ten humpback whales in the Western Antarctic Peninsula. The animals were tagged non-invasively and followed to study foraging and acoustic behavior. On the records of all ten animals background singing was heard, and in two of these recordings, long and complex songs could be discerned (audio files can be found by following the reference below).... Read more »
Stimpert, AK, Peavey, LE, Friedlaender, AS, & Nowacek, DP. (2012) Humpback Whale Song and Foraging Behavior on an Antarctic Feeding Ground. . PloS one, 7(12). info:/doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051214
Men with more brothers than sisters are more likely to have increased fertility, according to new research.
Scientists of the University of Sheffield and Brown University studied the semen of 500 men, and measured how fast their sperm swam – a major predictor of fertility. The participants also reported how many brothers or sisters they had in their family.... Read more »
Mossman, J., Slate, J., Birkhead, T., Moore, H., & Pacey, A. (2012) Sperm speed is associated with sex bias of siblings in a human population. Asian Journal of Andrology. DOI: 10.1038/aja.2012.109
C elegans makes it look easy. During the course of development, based on environmental conditions, they either ramp up to becoming adults, or lay low as dauer larvae.... Read more »
Schaedel ON, Gerisch B, Antebi A, & Sternberg PW. (2012) Hormonal signal amplification mediates environmental conditions during development and controls an irreversible commitment to adulthood. PLoS biology, 10(4). PMID: 22505848
Our first impression of another person is often purely based on physical appearance and it can strongly influence our following judgments. For instance, many experiments have shown that people are tended to judge beautiful people as more intelligent, competent and sociable than less attractive people. But attractiveness is not the only factor related to appearance that has biasing effects. Another pervasive bias concerns a person’s facial maturity: the baby-face bias.... Read more »
Zebrowitz, L., & McDonald, S. (1991) The impact of litigants' baby-facedness and attractiveness on adjudications in small claims courts. Law and Human Behavior, 15(6), 603-623. DOI: 10.1007/BF01065855
A neurobiology team at the University of Pittsburgh has given a Jan Scheuermann the power to do something that a degenerative disease had taken away. Thanks to a brain-computer interface and a robotic arm she affectionately calls “Hector,” Jan is now able to feed herself, despite her paralysis.... Read more »
Collinger, J., Wodlinger, B., Downey, J., Wang, W., Tyler-Kabara, E., Weber, D., McMorland, A., Velliste, M., Boninger, M., & Schwartz, A. (2012) High-performance neuroprosthetic control by an individual with tetraplegia. The Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61816-9
Their flippers may forever prevent them from starting card-playing leagues, but bottlenose dolphins do form social clubs much like ours, a study from Georgetown University suggests. There is one major difference between dolphin and human social groups that should give us some pause; the dolphins appear to be nicer.... Read more »
Mann, J., Stanton, M., Patterson, E., Bienenstock, E., & Singh, L. (2012) Social networks reveal cultural behaviour in tool-using using dolphins. Nature Communications, 980. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1983
A Yale-led team recently released this exhaustively researched data visualization showing the nearly 10,000 species of living birds on Earth. The data shows changes in the rate of diversification among birds, with diversity increasing among more recent species.... Read more »
The wreck of the Batavia is well known, but utilizing bioarchaeological analyses, new facts have been brought to light.... Read more »
Franklin, D. (2012) Human skeletal remains from a multiple burial associated with the mutiny of the VOC , 1629 . International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 22(6), 740-748. DOI: 10.1002/oa.1235
Its been said that all things are delicately interconnected, and in the case of these neighboring fruitfly neurons, that connection proves astoundingly delicate. Neurons have long been understood to communicate via synaptic connection, i.e. tiny junctions between them, via which subtle electrical signals are exchanged. The “neuron doctrine” established this principal more than a century ago.
However, in a recently published discovery, neuroscientists documented multiple olfactory receptor neurons that directly influenced fruitfly behavior without a synaptic connection, with their overall output describing their surrounding olfactory environment across an electrical field.... Read more »
Su, C., Menuz, K., Reisert, J., & Carlson, J. (2012) Non-synaptic inhibition between grouped neurons in an olfactory circuit. Nature, 492(7427), 66-71. DOI: 10.1038/nature11712
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